LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Better Business Bureau in Lake Charles is warning consumers to be cautious of door to door solicitors who have been taking advantage of homeowners in the lake area.
Carmen Million, president of the Better Business Bureau says they've received complaints from homeowners who have been asked to purchase things like magazines, vacuum cleaners and even a pavement job in their driveway.
"The consumer usually doesn't have an understanding of what the job is going to be until after it's done," says Million. "Then the consumer is paying the fee because they're threatened in a lot of cases by their solicitor."
Million says this is the time of year when solicitors start knocking on doors.
"When the warm weather comes out, it automatically brings out scam artists," says Million.
While some door to door solicitors can be trusted, Million says all consumers need to beware.
"Our main victims are our senior citizens," says Million. "They are the people home most often."
BBB offers tips for consumers to use in dealing with solicitors.
One way to watch out for is the solicitor's license plate.
If the license plate is out of state, then it is definitely a red flag.
Million says there is key information you should get before making a purchase.
"You should get their name, their address, and their phone number," says Million. "Also check on the company and find out if they have a license to operate."
These tasks can all be done at the Better Business Bureau's web site.
"You just click on charity or business and then you can search the company's grade rating," says Million.
When making a purchase do not write a check to an individual person, never pay with cash, and keep all receipts.
"There's nothing wrong with buying a product if you're interested," says Million. "Just be very cautious."
If you live in a city limits where soliciting is prohibited, you're advised to call law enforcement immediately.
If you would like more information on how to better protect yourself from door to door solicitors click on "Better Business Bureau Link" to the right.